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Meet the department store with its own ferris wheel

No matter where you go in Japan you are likely to find a Don Quijote discount store.

The store chain has over 325 locations throughout Japan, as well as stores in Hawaii and two in Singapore (branded as Don Don Donki).




It carries an absurdly wide range of products, from groceries to electronics, clothing to high-end watches, cosmetics to chocolates. Choose between instant ramen noodles and colourfully-decorated cotton socks.

Don Quijote tends to keep very late hours for Japanese retailing (with its stores open until the early hours and some operating 24 hours a day).

The chain is known for its packed stores and narrow alleys with goods packed from ceiling to floor. Exits can be hard to find. Not a place for claustrophobics.

The store in Dotonbori in the centre of Osaka is one of those open 24 hours a day - and it has its own trademark yellow ferris wheel. Ride to to the top for sweeping views of downtown Osaka.

Re-opened 12 months ago after being closed for several years, the wheel is decorated with a giant image of Ebisu, the god of business prosperity.

Don Quijote also has a "half-pipe" roller coaster on the roof of its eight-storey Roppongi store in Tokyo, but it has never been operational due to protests from locals.

Don Quijote stores offer tax-free shopping for visitors and are a perfect one-stop shop to pick up last- minute gifts before returning home. Compared to Australia, the prices are very keen. 




All the stores share a penguin mascot in typical Japanese style and we found some limited-release Suntory whiskies that had been sold out at the distillery.  Well worth a visit for an authentic Japanese experience. 


THE FACTS

Qantas flies direct between Sydney and Osaka Kansai three times a week with economy return fares starting from $1156 per person. www.qantas.com.au

The writer was a guest of Kansai Gastronomy Tourism Promotion Council and associated companies, including Keihan Holdings and JR West. Pick up the Osaka-Kansai Gourmet Food Map when you arrive for some helpful regional itineraries. www.kansaibishoku.net/en


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